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Early birthday present…

These arrived yesterday…

My birthday is Saturday. Father’s Day is Sunday. Bill has a birthday in July. That’s why I decided to buy expensive Ass Clown Brewing Company insulated travel tumblers.

Ass Clown Brewing Company is located in Cornelius, North Carolina, which I think isn’t too far from Charlotte. I see from the map on their Facebook page that they’re in an area not too far from Interstate 77, which I used to travel somewhat often when I lived in South Carolina. I became aware of their company when Bill and I lived in North Carolina seven or eight years ago, but we were never able to visit their brewery to try any of their beers. I love the name of their company, though, so I followed them on Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed they were advertising the above tumblers. I asked them if they would ship them to APO. They hadn’t heard of APO, so I had to explain it to them. Those of us affiliated with the military or U.S. government get APO access– meaning we can receive mail at a post office box as if we were still in the USA. That means we can buy stuff on Amazon.com and other sites without having it sent to our German home address. It saves a lot on shipping and duties. Not all U.S. businesses will ship to APO, because it’s a bit of a hassle. The package has to go to the post office and the sender has to fill out customs forms. That’s a pain in the ass.

So I asked the good people at Ass Clown Brewing Company if they were willing to ship to APO. After a somewhat lengthy chat on Facebook messenger, they said they would. I think I ended up paying about $72 for these two tumblers, mainly because they’re large and we had them personalized. We also had to pay sales tax and shipping, of course. But I’m pretty excited by them because they look great, and I love getting new gear from craft breweries. We kind of collect this stuff. The beer cozies and stickers were extra schwag they threw in. I don’t know how often we’ll use these. I prefer drinking beer from glasses or stone mugs. On the other hand, they might make my next road trip more fun.

Now, I kind of wish I’d ordered t-shirts, too. I have a feeling I’m going to need them as the temperatures rise here in Germany. I do still have my two air conditioners that kind of work… I have noticed more places in Germany are installing air conditioning as global warming becomes more of a problem. Twelve years ago, it never got that hot here, but I can remember some truly brutal recent summers. I’m just glad the house we’re in now has rolladens on all of the windows. It’s definitely cooler in this house than it was our last one.

Tomorrow, Bill is taking me away on my birthday getaway. It’s just two nights, and we’re not even leaving Hesse. I kind of don’t want to go… but I kind of do want to go, because I’m tired of being bored. I just dread the hassle. Anyway, I should have a somewhat more exciting blog post when we get back from our little “staycation”. Maybe soon, we can venture down to Stuttgart for a trip to the dentist. God knows, we both need a good cleaning.

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Georgia, hotels, North Carolina

The big road trip… part one

Our trip to Texas began last Saturday, July 26th.  We’d spent the couple of days prior packing and cleaning and staying at the local Hampton Inn.  My back was killing me from the hard work and my nerves were frazzled by unprofessional movers.  For some reason, the bed at the Hampton Inn in Sanford, North Carolina had tits.  There was also a strange post it note assuring us our duvet and sheets were “clean”.  I should hope so!

We didn’t keep the dogs with us at the Hampton Inn because they didn’t allow pets and we wanted them totally out of our hair while the movers were packing and loading up.  Our house in Sanford didn’t even have a fenced yard for us to put them in.

Our bed at the Sanford Hampton Inn had tits…

I tried out the whirlpool.  It was surprisingly nice and easily accommodated my fat ass.

Though I was ready to light out of Sanford, I will miss it there.  It was very peaceful and quiet.

Sanford Hampton Inn has the feel of a nursing home, but the room had a fridge and a microwave and was reasonably comfortable.  They had a guest laundry, which was very helpful and offered breakfast, both hot and “on the go”.  The on the go breakfast was handy for us, because I ended up using it as lunch.

Nevertheless, it was finally time to hit the road.  Bill and I dumped our spare change for the last time at the grocery store, then bought some gas for my 2009 Mini Cooper convertible.  I hardly ever drive it and on this trip to Texas, finally passed the 16,000 mile point.

As I was about to follow Bill to a fast food joint for breakfast, the car stalled out completely.  I rolled backwards into the gas station parking lot while Bill continued on without me.  I don’t know why the car stalled, but it was totally dead for several minutes, then mysteriously resurrected.  I managed to drive to a strip mall, where I called Bill.  He met me there; we ate nasty breakfast sandwiches at Subway; and then when I went to start the car again, it did the same thing.

We were both pretty leery because we didn’t have time to take the car to Raleigh for repairs.  I resolved to let it run in the parking lot of the pet resort, where our dogs Zane and Arran had been spending the last few days in North Carolina.  Once we picked them up, we were on our way…  Our first stop was Peachtree City, Georgia.  Bill and I once lived in neighboring Fayetteville, so we are familiar with the area.  We decided to stop there because we wanted to pick up some beer made by JailHouse Brewing Company.

The first day was the longest one.  We arrived in Peachtree City at about 5:30pm.  We both had pounding headaches from fighting the local traffic.  Still, Peachtree City is a pleasant area and I was glad to be back there for a night.  We stayed at the Wyndham, which is a big conference center.  The Wyndham in Peachtree City is pet friendly, but we had to pay an extra $100 for the boys to stay with us.  The room did not have a microwave or fridge and they gave us two double beds instead of the king Bill asked for.  On the other hand, the toiletries were awesome and the room was very spacious.

The boys each chose a bed.  Arran slept with me, while Zane slept with Bill.  Usually it’s the other way around.  Arran is the dog on the first bed, while Zane is on the other.

 

The dogs were like kids who had been trapped in a car all day.  Once they were turned loose in the hotel room, playtime commenced.  I took them out for a pee break at about 8:00am the next morning and they ran into a little dog in the stairwell.  They all started barking like crazy.  When I brought them back, some lady peered out the door at me and gave me a filthy look.  Sorry, lady.  It’s not like we wanted them to bark.  Sometimes shit just happens.  That’s why we were booked on the pet floor.

We did get out of there as soon as we could so the lady could get more beauty rest.  She appeared to need it.

The view from our hotel room in Georgia.

Another view of the room.  

  Nice bathroom, even if the water was tepid.

 

That was our second stay at the Wyndham in Peachtree City.  I’m pleased to report that we had a better room the second time, even if the view wasn’t as nice.  Internet worked great, whereas last time we were there, it wasn’t working well at all.  If we’d had a fridge and a microwave and the water had been hotter, I would have given them an A for effort.  As it stands, I think they get a B.

All in all, the first leg was just exhausting, but not dramatic.  Once we got the car going, we had no other problems with it stalling.  I think it just needs to be serviced.  Indeed, Bill got an email from Flow Mini in Raleigh just this morning reminding us it’s time.  Guess we’ll find a place in Texas for that.

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North Carolina, restaurant reviews

Birthday dinner… Cake and Steak!

Yesterday was my birthday.  My husband took me out to dinner to celebrate.  We went to the Southern Prime Steak House in Southern Pines, North Carolina.  We had been there a couple of times before and Bill had mentioned wanting to go there a couple of times last week.  This place specializes in dry aged steaks and that’s what we both enjoyed last night in the restaurant’s impressive wine library.

They had decorated our table with funfetti before we arrived…  I was enjoying a lovely glass of sparkling wine from the Napa Valley…

We started off with lobster rangoons, which were served with a spicy dipping sauce.  They were really delicious and perfect to start the meal with because I was hungry.  They also served some fantastic hot bread with a very light whipped honey butter.

Then we had salads.  I had a spinach salad with hard boiled quail eggs and a spicy red pepper, sherry, and bacon dressing.  Bill had a classic Caesar salad.  We probably should have switched salads because Bill liked mine better than the Caesar and I’m always game for Caesar salads.

Bill ordered a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, to go with our steaks.  Mine was a perfect 12 ounce ribeye, served with green beans and cheesy grits.  Bill’s was an 8 ounce filet.  Those steaks were insanely good; they’d been dry aged for 28 days.  This restaurant has a grill that cooks them at 1400 degrees… or so they say.  If I hadn’t wanted grits, I could have had mashed potatoes or a baked potato.  I chose the grits because I can have potatoes any day.  I can have grits any day too, but I correctly surmised these grits would be outstanding… and they definitely were!

I look forward to lunch today…

 
I think I ate maybe half of this because I was saving room for dessert.  It was excellent… makes me sorry we didn’t visit this restaurant more often since we now have to move.

After dinner, they brought out the obligatory lava cake…

 

Lava cake time.  I actually don’t like lava cakes that much, but this one was really nice.  It was rich chocolate, moist, and not too sweet.  Bill and I shared it, then ordered some Key Lime Pie for later this weekend.  I don’t like lava cakes, not because I don’t like half baked chocolate stuff, but more because lava cakes are ubiquitous and kind of half-assed.  That doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy them when they are presented to me.

And then at the end of the meal, they took our picture.  I hate having my picture taken too, but they did a good one this time.  Bill looks like he’s staring at my boobs, but that’s because he always blinks when someone takes a photo with flash.

We’ve come a long way since 2002…  The photo below was taken of us the night Bill proposed, March 13, 2002.

I was having a good hair day that night.

It’s good to be 41, I guess.  And just to tie this to travel, look what SeaDream sent me…

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North Carolina

The heat is here…

After an unseasonably cool spring, it looks like we finally got our summer heat here in North Carolina. And that’s probably a good thing, since in just weeks, I’ll be in Texas… just in time for the dog days of summer.  I guess I better get used to really hot weather.

I heard the weather might cool down before the end of the week… but I’m not holding my breath.  And to think a month ago, I was on SeaDream wrapped up in multiple towels after using the hot tub.  How quickly things change!

I tell you what else we have here in North Carolina… disgusting ticks.  And the sneaky little bastards find the most obscure nooks and crannies to hide in.  I found one between my dog Arran’s toes.  It had  become engorged, despite my diligent use of flea and tick preventative.  Under the engorged tick, there was another tick that hadn’t latched on yet.  Yeccch!

My Texas based Facebook friends remind me that once we move to San Antonio, I’ll be dealing with scorpions and snakes, too.  I think I’ll be glad to just get this move behind me.

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Uncategorized

Next trip is booked…

Bill and I are spending the first week of July in San Antonio, Texas.  We’re going there to find a place to live and see his mother.  I doubt we’ll need all the days to find quarters; we’re usually pretty quick when it comes to that.  I find ads for the types of places we prefer and then we check it out in person to see if we still like it.

It’s hard to believe in less than two months, we’ll be leaving North Carolina.  We’ve only lived here since April 2011.  I’ve mostly liked it here… if we were staying, I’d be looking to find another house in a different community, I think.  The town we’re in now is pleasant enough, but there’s not that much going on here.  It has going for it the fact that it’s almost exactly between Raleigh and Fayetteville.  People here are nice, though, and most everything we need is in the vicinity.

San Antonio looks like it will be a lot more exciting, but I fear we’ll also have trouble finding the right place to live.  So this trip is important.  It’s also expensive!

I ended up booking the trip on Expedia.com because we needed plane tickets, a hotel, and a rental car and they could give us a package deal.  Maybe I would have done better some other way, but I’ve used Expedia a lot over the years and am comfortable with it.  So that’s what I did…

We’re flying out on Delta, which makes me happy.  I have more frequent flyer points on Delta than the other airlines and I somewhat prefer it to American and US Air… and definitely to United.  We have seven nights at The Menger Hotel on the Riverwalk.  Last time we were in San Antonio, we stayed at Hotel Contessa, which we liked.  But staying there would have cost significantly more.  Last time I stayed at Hotel Contessa, I got an excellent deal.  We’re renting a car from Alamo…  It’ll probably be a boring sedan.

The grand total for all of this?  About $2100.  I’d rather spend that on a transatlantic flight to Europe.  But finding a place to live is important.  I’ll feel better once we do that and can get this move out of the way.  Hopefully we won’t have another one anytime soon.  I’d like to put down roots somewhere.

I also hope I don’t excite the TSA this time…

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